Would you be able to guess the price of a car without looking under the hood? How about the price of a house just by its outside appearance without having a look at the finishes? In the same way, it can be hard for a developer to estimate the cost of a website before they know what you want.
Why should I invest in a website?
A website is a digital representation of yourself or your business that helps people see the products and services you have as well as educating and informing people on who you are and what you do. They have the potential of increasing profits and attracting new customers in addition to having the widest reach as an advertising medium.
A website also vouches for your credibility as people tend to research your products and services online first before transacting with you. It is therefore a vital part of your business or personal growth.
How much will a website cost me?
Unfortunately, this question does not have a straightforward answer as there are many points to consider before creating a website.
· What is the main goal of your website?
· Is it a personal blog or portfolio that will inform people about you?
· Are you selling goods or services or do you offer enterprise solutions?
A blog is definitely cheaper and easier to build than an e-commerce website as it has less features and functionalities. By figuring out your website’s objective, you can narrow it down to what you really need and this will point you in the right direction when planning the cost of a website.
The raw materials for a website
There are certain development costs that must be included in your website’s initial budget and ongoing expenditure. These include:
Domain Name – This is your unique online fingerprint that is visible on the address bar. You have the option to purchase a new name or buy an existing one. The domain name has to be registered annually.
Website hosting – This is the space where your website sits on a server and people can access it. The annual prices for web hosting depend on whether you prefer a shared server, a virtual private server (VPS) or a dedicated server, with the latter being the most expensive.
SSL Certification – An SSL Certification is crucial for e-commerce websites as it protects your users’ private information online such as credit card details. With an SSL Certification, your URL appears as “https” and not “http” plus it will have an icon of a padlock with a menu that shows details of the certificate. It is renewed every year and proves the safety and integrity of your website.
The look and feel – Paint a pretty picture
The first impression of your website will determine whether or not users stay on your website or move on. Difficult navigation or an outdated appearance may push you into the back pages of search engines, making you lose visibility and potential customers.
Depending on your target audience and the user experience you want to have, you can opt for pre-packaged themes or custom-designed themes. Pre-packaged themes are more affordable but tend to be generic. Getting a designer to create a bespoke theme for your website makes the user experience more personal, but the design cost on its own would be much higher.
Make it mobile
Something else to consider while still on the cost of design is whether you would like a responsive design or you will create a mobile website. Your website should offer the same user experience, be it on a computer, a mobile phone or a tablet. A responsive design automatically adjusts the elements to fit the users’ device and is significantly cheaper than creating a separate mobile friendly site.
Content is king
Your content should accurately depict your website’s purpose in a clear and simple way. It should include keywords and internal links to other pages on your website that would help search engines navigate through your website and keep you on top of the rankings.
An understanding of Search Engine Optimization is important when creating content for your website. You may be able to write your own content which would be cheaper but more time consuming as compared to hiring a professional copywriter to create content for your website.
Keep in mind that although getting a copywriter may seem like an added expense, a carefully planned content strategy can attract quality traffic and generate leads and revenue for your website.
Ensure your pages work for you
Your website needs to be functional. Do you have a contact form or an email subscriber list? Would you like a shopping cart for your products or would you like to integrate a payment processing platform? This is where development comes in.
Certain website platforms offer these features in pre-packaged plans for an additional cost or you can get a developer to create bespoke functions for your website. The costs of these functions differ depending on the size of the website and how they are used.
You must maintain your website
Once your website is live and fully functional, you need to consider website maintenance.
· Can someone call you directly from your website on a mobile device?
· Are your products regularly updated?
· Do you have someone to deal with any issues that may arise?
Although these may be one-off concerns that need to be dealt with, you would still need to include it in the budget.
Making money from your website
A digital advertising and marketing strategy is important because there is no use of having a website if no one knows about it. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) are all ways to make your website more visible to potential clients.
Depending on your marketing campaign, these would vary in costs but with the right strategy, you can spend a minimal amount and have an optimal impact on your business.
Is it therefore possible to put a fixed price on a website?
Not really. It’s like trying to guess the cost of a house. Your best bet is to break it down to what you really need and what user experience you would like for your customers. Don’t crack your head on it. Contact us for a quote that will work for your budget.